Friendships can be really difficult for children. For some it can be so hard to express their feelings without hurting another child. Grotbags is now 11 years old and struggles emotionally at times. I think this is more to do with the way she sees herself, than how others perceive her. She constantly worries, is she wearing the right clothes, will her friends like them or somebody said something that has obviously hurt her feelings. She longs to fit in and be like her friends but to me she is perfect the way she is and I think she is finally starting to realise her own individuality.
A lovely blogger called Becky Goddard-Hill from Emotionally Healthy Kids has devised a set of healthy friendship cards called Fink to encourage conversation around friendships. There are four topics for discussion:
- thinking about friendships you have
- how to make friends
- how to be a good friend
- how to manage difficulties in friendships
These cards can be a really useful and powerful prompting tool in helping children of all ages to understand and express their feelings and emotions and can be used in a variety of settings either formally or informally.
Luckily for me Grotbags is quite open and will talk to me about anything and we often have meaningful discussions whilst I am cooking dinner. I know when something is bothering her as she will perch herself on the freezer and start telling me about her day. Children can say some really hurtful things at times and she cannot understand why they do this. Grotbags is quite sensitive and has had emotional issues in the past and it scares me to think we could end up 5 years in the past with the stresses of OCD tendencies that made her life a misery. We finding talking is a great help and although I have never given her the answers, she listens carefully and figures things out in her own mind.
I wish there had been prompts like these available in the past as I am sure they would have helped with the problems we faced. I am so proud of the little lady she is becoming, caring, kind, considerate and willing to help anyone and I will continue to shower her with praise and nurture her until she is ready to flee the nest.